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New Zealand mine reopens 9 years after deadly blast; search begins for victims

ANI  |  Pacific 

A New Zealand coal mine that was sealed shut after 29 people were killed in the country's worst-ever industrial explosion, was reopened after nine years on Tuesday.

Three mining experts, today, entered the Pike River mine to recover the bodies of 29 people who were killed in an explosion on November 19, 2019. A similar attempt made two weeks earlier was called off following false oxygen reading from a failed sampling tube, reported Xinhua.

"The tragedy that took these men's lives was the consequence of corporate and regulatory failure. Fulfilling the promise to do everything possible to safely re-enter is an act of justice for families who have waited for far too long," said Minister of Justice Andrew Little.

"There is still much to do. We must find out what happened at Pike River. However long that takes, the recovery project will be done professionally," he added.

Families of the trapped miners had been pushing the New Zealand government to re-enter the mine for years. Their demands were heeded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after she assumed the office in 2017.

Earlier, an official inquiry made into the incident determined that the operators of the said mine had allowed the miners to work in unsafe conditions.

Labor violation charges were filed against Mine's chief executive, Peter Whittall, but were later dropped, and no criminal charges were filed in connection with the tragedy, reports Voice Of America.

Tuesday's re-entry is regarded as a milestone success in the recovery project and is believed to be an emotional moment for the families of the 29 victims.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 21 2019. 21:34 IST